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A new maternity ward funded by UNMISS brings smiles to expectant mothers in Opari

South Sudan
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Ante- and post-natal care for expectant mothers in Opari boma (administrative division), near Nimule in Eastern Equatoria, received a much-needed boost through a brand-new maternity ward constructed with UNMISS funding.

“This maternal health facility has been a boon for all of us here as women now have a clean, safe and hygienic environment in which they can give birth and know that their newborn babies are properly looked after; we are grateful to UNMISS for giving female community members, and indeed the entire community, a reason to smile,” said Tobias Nduru, community leader.

The three-room ward, constructed under the mission’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme, is solar-powered and equipped with five modern delivery beds as well as a water tank. “I urge residents to put this ward to good use since maternal health is an important aspect of the overall health and wellbeing of societies, especially during these critical times when the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anthony Nwapa, Acting Head of the UNMISS Field Office in the region, at the official handover ceremony, adding that it is hoped the facility will reduce the mortality rate among local populations living in Opari by providing for safe childbirth.

For her part, Eliza Omoro, Director General of Health, Eastern Equatoria, assured those in attendance of consistent and continuous coordination between state health authorities with partners to provide the maximum standard of healthcare possible to everyone in the state. “I encourage all residents to contribute to taking care of the ward and making sure it runs smoothly and efficiently,” urged Ms. Omoro.

But perhaps the most eloquent yet simple expression of gratitude for the mission came from Juan Beatrice Joseph, a resident of Opari: “I am so thankful that I can now avail of this maternity ward. Childbirth, for me, will never be as painful or hard for me or any other woman in Opari again.”

Since 2012, the UNMISS Field Office in Torit, Eastern Equatoria, has funded and completed 22 QIPs ranging from water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, court halls to detention cells, among other basic facilities identified by local populations in the region as pressing necessities.

This maternity ward project was undertaken by the mission in collaboration with Community Needs Initiative (CNI), a national nongovernmental organization.